I saw a hippo run into the Zambezi River as the sun was setting behind me in Zambia. It was so naturally explosive, you’d think I was making it up, or it was some type of rehearsed animal exploitive show. I had forgotten how special spontaneous moments like this one were, but that’s why we travel, and that’s why Zambia should be your next destination.
My South African Airlines plane touched down in Livingstone, Zambia, and as I stepped onto the tarmac, it felt like Africa. It felt untouched, but also lived in, and welcoming. My dad, step-mom, and I were picked up by Paul, who worked at The River Lodge. He drove us through the game park and past the village he lived in. We got out of the car and stepped onto a boat that would cruise on the Zambezi river to our accommodations. Before getting on the boat, there were two women with their younger-than-10 children fishing on the side of the river. It was one of the most beautiful scenes. Their garments were brightly colored and the baby girl sitting in one of the woman’s lap had these bright, round eyes that you could get lost in.
We glided across the glass-like water and sipped the sweetest mango juice. We were the only guests for our whole stay at the lodge, so we were treated like family. One of the managers came to greet us with her two dogs (Thug & Tula) and explained the logistics of staying at the lodge. We were upgraded to the Princess Mary House, where I had my own room and bathroom on the ground floor. The only less-than-ideal part of the house were the flat spiders.
Before dinner and our sunset cruise, I went to the pool by the main house, because it was too pretty to pass up. The water was freezing, but it felt nice in the heat. Then, we headed back to the river for our cruise.
Mack was our guide, and he was incredible at spotting animals. We saw hippos yawn in the water, crocodiles lounging on land, and local birds take to the sky.
We pre-ordered dinner, and they were amazing about my lactose-intolerant-ness. The food exceeded expectations; however, eating in darker settings outside, and using lights attracted flying critters.
One of my favorite things about spending the night in a jungle setting is sleeping under a net. Yes, it’s practically for keeping mosquitos out, but it felt so glamorous. Also, listening to the thunder and rain in Africa is magical.
Featured Image: raysofthesun.tumblr.com